The officer, Arnulfo Crispin, 25, suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Monday morning, officials said.
Crispin was shot around 10:15 p.m. in the 1600 block of Crystal Grove Drive near an apartment complex after checking on three suspicious men, said police spokeswoman Ann Dinges.
Crispin, an 18-month department veteran, was reportedly alone when one of the men shot him.
A second officer arrived about 10:22 p.m. and found him wounded and unresponsive.
The suspects had fled.
A $20,000 reward has been offered for information about the suspects that leads to identifications or arrests.
Few details were available Monday morning about the trio other than one was wearing a red shirt and another was wearing a “shiny top” at the time of the shooting.
“We’re seeking assistance from anyone in the public,” said Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womanck.
Police cordoned off a large section of the area around Crystal Lake, Combee Road and Bartow Road for several hours Monday morning.
Police dogs scoured the area and vehicles were stopped at checkpoints, where officers searched trunks of cars. Police knocked on doors and questioned neighbors in the area.
As of 7:00 a.m. portions of U.S. 98 South, North Crystal Lake Drive, South Crystal Lake Drive and Commerce Point Drive remained closed to vehicles.
Some residents were barred from reentering their home as of about 4 a.m., according to reports.
Several different agencies assisted Lakeland Police in the manhunt Monday including the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Winter Haven Police, Bartow Police, Haines City Police and Tampa Police.
As of 8:32 a.m. a suspect has been arrested in this case. 19-year-old Kyle Williams. He will be charged with attempted 1st Degree Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer with a firearm.
Anyone with more information can contact Lakeland police at 863-834-6900.
The Lakeland Ledger contributed to this report.
Source: St. Petersburg Times